A Message from the JS Principal: Celebrating learning and a few notifications

I have a few updates to share with you in this message, however I thought it might be nice to begin by celebrating some important learning that has been happening in our JS community. To this end, I would like to acknowledge the PYP Exhibition that happened last Thursday and the Community Marketplace that occured this Thursday. These events, which featured our Grade 5, 4 and 2 students respectively, epitomize what being a Prem student is all about. They also contribute towards answering the question, “How might a PYP education advantage my child?”

So often when we want to validate the success of our educational programs we look towards Mathematical and Literacy results for verification. Without a doubt, success in these areas is tremendously important. In fact, these are currently a major strategic area of focus in the Junior School, as we look to take intentional steps to improve teaching and student learning. With that said, there are skills, capacities and dispositions that are arguably just as important for ensuring the future success of our young learners. In traditional educational spheres, these skills, capacities and dispositions may not capture our attention, in part because they are difficult to quantitatively measure. Yet their importance should not be understated, and indeed, they may one day make all the difference when it comes to workplace success.

So what are these skills, capacities and dispositions that I saw being practiced by our students with respect to the PYP Exhibition and the Community Marketplace? Firstly, I observed students who were learning in a hands-on and experiential way to tackle big challenges as part of a collaborative team. Students were clearly being challenged to engage in a creative process. They were goal-oriented. The students’ resilience would have been challenged during the process leading up to these big events, and this is character forming. Inherent in these endeavours, the students’ self-management, communication and presentation skills were put to the test. Moreover, these experiences provided opportunities for the development of critical dispositions, such as commitment, creativity, enthusiasm, resourcefulness, cooperation and self-efficacy. During the actual event, students were required to engage their social skills and their power of persuasion, as they sold their ideas, and in the case of Grade 4, their physical creations, to a real-life audience.

The PYP Exhibition and the Community Marketplace fostered authentic learning, a very inspiring and motivating way to learn. These project-based experiences mirror the kind of challenges students will one day need to tackle as adults in the real world. Such powerful formative experiences are transformative and will naturally serve our students in their future lives. As part of the process, these students will reflect to consider what went well and how they could have done things better. This has been a fundamental part of the post-PYP Exhibition work that the Grade 5 students have been doing this past week. In undertaking such reflection, our students will develop their meta-cognition, a higher-order thinking capacity that educational research shows correlates directly to success and achievement.

In the case of our Grade 2 students who were selling toys as a form of Action to raise money for people affected by COVID-19, I saw very young students engaging in a caring and compassionate endeavour. Such benevolent experiences learned at a young age can serve to shape the people we become. It is no secret that what the world needs now is a generation of people who care and possess the confidence, determination, fortitude and formative experiences that can empower them, so that they are equipped to take meaningful action to make a significant difference.

In totality, very powerful stuff!  I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate our students for a job well done and thank our educators for facilitating these learning experiences.

And now a few notifications …

Remote Learning and Prem Virtual Learning Guidelines 

Please note that our Junior School remote learning program is running for students who are away from school, whether it is for a single day due to 300+ AQI or for a prolonged absence.

As your family engages with our remote learning program, please support your child to log onto Seesaw to access the learning engagements. These are sent out weekly at the beginning of the week. You will find a variety of offerings across the subject areas that will support your son or daughter’s learning.

I have forwarded JS families a copy of the Prem Virtual Learning Guidelines (please see version sent March 13th as part of the email: A Message from the JS Principal). This has information on how students can best succeed as they learn remotely.Please find the document HERE

We have been very active this year ensuring clean indoor air spaces across the Junior School, and when possible, we encourage your children to come to school for the robust face-to-face learning opportunities provided by our hardworking and committed group of JS educators.

Lunch in the JS Undercroft

As the cafeteria has proven to be a difficult space for ensuring clean air, we have moved all JS students into the JS Undercroft for lunchtimes. I am monitoring this space, along with all our learning spaces, to ensure clean air for our students.

Student Led Conferences

Student Led Conferences will be held this year in the first two weeks of May. Following the April holiday, we will be sending out information so that you can sign up to attend your child’s student-led conference. Student Led Conferences were cancelled last year due to pollution restrictions. We are pleased to offer them this year once again.

Report Cards

In anticipation of report cards going home on April 3rd, please note that the report card format for Term 3 is a very simple progress report intended to give you a quick snapshot of how your child’s progress is doing compared to grade level expectations in Math and Literacy. Other subject areas will report on learning dispositions and effort.

Junior School Workshops

We are pleased to announce we have some Junior School workshops for parents coming up. All workshops will be scheduled for 830-930 am in the Library (2nd floor).

    • Gender in Education (presenter: A. Justin) March 24th

    • Creativity in the Curriculum (presenters: A. Alex, A. Mary ann)  April 29th

    • Early Years Learning (presenters: A. Taura, A. Justin)  May 28th

Respectfully yours,
A. Justin
Prem JS Principal
PYP Exhibition
PYP Exhibition
Community Marketplace

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